Sadly, this year, The Phoenix Remix cannot go to the Edinburgh Fringe (we aim to make this up to you in 2023), however, we have been sent some previews of shows so instead we are reviewing those! Today is a review of the digital show Willy’s Lil Virgin Queen. Details are also below for where you can find the show at the Fringe this August.
Willy’s Lil Virgin Queen
Location: C ARTS / C Venues / C Digital (Venue 4)
Dates: Watch on Demand
Time: 1 Hour and 15 minutes
Price: Pay What You Can
The one thing that has come out of the pandemic as a positive, is the remote shows that are now available as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe roster. I got the chance to review Willy’s Lil Virgin Queen a show from the United States by Olio Theatre Works about Shakespeare.
The show is 75 minutes and intertwines history with modern day life and throughout is a mixture of dramatic monologues and facts that interlink with Shakespeare and his plays. The show is very good at weaving Shakespeare’s works into the leads own coming-of-age story, and illustrates how the Bard helped develop her own life.
Initially when you start watching this show, you wonder if you need to know a lot about Shakespeare to understand it, however do not be fooled, it soon becomes clear that it is broken down and explained to you in depth so that it is easy to understand, sort of like a mini history lesson wrapped up in a theatrical, comedic, storytelling piece. The one thing I really like is right at the start, the audience are asked how much they know about Shakespeare, making sure that no one is left out on the journey. It is funny, interesting and you learn new things along the way whilst also being engaged with the storytelling.
Lets talk about Terra Taylor Knudson, she utilises all the stage, even though there are very limited props she has a way of using these to create a scene for the audience. Throughout there is a lot historical information that may seem a lot to take in but it is broken up with lots of light hearted jokes and fun dramatisations. At times it feels like it is metaphorically interpreting Shakespeare’s words into modern day society. The way Terra brings the stories to life with such enthusiasm is the main thing that makes this show work and makes you want to watch it. Her admiration for Shakespeare evidently rubs off on the audience as they engage with the jokes and the narrative.
I like the way that modern references such as dating apps, television shows and Disney are used to make it relevant to todays society. I feel that it has a uniqueness to it that actually would be good to use in places such as colleges to help students understand the world of Shakespeare a lot more, as it captivates the right balance to allow you to understand the history while also being able to understand its relevance. Something that I felt was never the case when I studied Shakespeare at A Level English.
Now lets talk about the fact of it being a remote recorded show. It is a production that works well, it is easy to engage with the show and feel like you are part of the audience. There are a few sections where the audio goes very loud to a quiet but don’t let this put you off as it does not effect the show.
Overall, for a remote show it is done very well, it engages the audience and allows them to feel like they are in the room with the show. The way that is has been filmed and edited does not take this experience away from the viewer which I think is to be applauded. I also think Terra Taylor Knudson needs to be praised for her knowledge of English history and Shakespeare, I would say that there is a lot of facts in there that people will not of known unless they did a real deep study of the bard. An in all a fully rounded, interesting show and a feast for Shakespeare fans.
RATING: **** 4 Stars